Is Dan Carter the greatest player in his position of all time?

At his peak there was no one better. Possibly there has been no greater player ever, in any position.

His performance against the Lions in Wellington will live forever in rugby folklore. As will his renaissance over the latter part of his career, which reminded us of his genius. One of the most straight forward decisions for a coach would have been writing his name down on the team sheet and moving on.

Dan Carter making a break in the match that defined him and set the benchmark for every other performance by a 10 forever. The second test against the Lions in 2005. Photo: Andrew Cornaga/PHOTOSPORT
Dan Carter making a break in the match that defined him and set the benchmark for every other performance by a 10 forever. The second test against the Lions in 2005. Photo: Andrew Cornaga/PHOTOSPORT

Can Jones force out Jonny?

Stephen Jones’ performances in New Zealand in 2005 were solid, if nothing else. Fast-forward four years and he became ever more influential. Had it not been for a moment of madness by Ronan O’Gara and a typically effortless Morne Steyn goal, then this series could have been very different. And Jones would have been hailed as the tactical genius that delivered it.

The Pretoria test of that series is one of legend, some even call it the greatest test ever played. If you brush past the severe brutality and wipe away the foul play of both Burger and Botha you will see, at the centre of everything was Stephen Jones. Jones’ play was such that he dictated proceedings, kicked goals from everywhere and brought the Lions to within a minute of a most famous victory. To us here at The 1014, he just strengthens the Welsh legacy in the 10 jersey.

But for all of this, there is only one Jonny Wilkinson.

When looking back at the professional era both Wilkinson and Carter have defined what it is to be a number 10. He is impossible to leave out.

Jonny Wilkinson kicks the game-tieing penalty during the Lions pre-tour Test against Agentina played at the Millennium Stadium. The game finished 25-25. Photo: Steve Bardens/actionplus
Jonny Wilkinson kicks the game-tieing penalty during the Lions pre-tour Test against Agentina played at the Millennium Stadium. The game finished 25-25. Photo: Steve Bardens/actionplus

The professional era teams to date…

All Blacks

1. Tony Woodcock
2. Dane Coles
3. Carl Hayman
4. Brodie Retallick
5. Sam Whitelock
6. Jerry Collins
7. Richie McCaw (c)
8. Kieran Read
9. Aaron Smith
10. Dan Carter

Lions

1. Tom Smith
2. Keith Wood
3. Phil Vickery
4. Martin Johnson (c)
5. Paul O’Connell
6. Lawrence Dallaglio
7. Richard Hill
8. Jamie Heaslip
9. Matt Dawson
10. Jonny Wilkinson

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Photos: www.photosport.nz

Author: Steven Prescott

I am a total sports fanatic; it is as simple as that. I love all sports, and when I’m not sitting at my computer living my dream with The 1014, I am planning adventures. The last time I did this I ended up convincing my wife to cycle 26,125km across three continents, and 22 countries with me as part of the Pedalling Prescotts.

6 COMMENTS

  1. You might want to revisit the foul play by Botha. He went through the gate, stayed on his feet (for the drive) and just smashed hard into Adam Jones. Hardly foul play. Jones even came out and said he was surprised he was banned. The fact that a highly respected captain, John Smit, had the team wear bands in the 3rd test (justice 4 bakkies) speak volumes about the whole thing. What Burger did was just messed up! Other than that, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all these articles, watching the vids and keep up the amazing work!

  2. Thanks a lot for taking the time to comment SA-Dave. I am glad you are enjoying the articles and the videos, there will be a lot more of that coming your way over the coming days, weeks, and months. We will be stepping it up, that is for sure.
    With regards to Bakkies, yes, it was unfortunate that he was suspended for two weeks. He had a reputation, rightly or wrongly as an enforcer and that would have played against him. The outcome of what happened in the second test was that he was suspended for foul play though. All of what you have put down is true, unfortunately, the judiciary, who are the people that count, did not see it that way.
    There are two questions in this space; do you think he would have been treated the same way now with all the lessons the judiciaries are learning all the time?
    The Lions absolutely tore the Boks to pieces in that third test. Do you think the fallout from the second test played some part in that?

  3. Burger should have been sent off in the first minute of that test. No place for gouging. But yeah Bakkies was a little unlucky perhaps.

    Anyways at 10 i feel the Gregor Townsend deserves an honourable mention with him and Jenkins (at 15) playing together in that combo being one of the main reasons they won

    • Totally agree with both the Burger and Bakkies statements.

      The nod to the Gregor and Jenkins axis is a great one. Spot on. I almost think I need to formally apologise to Gregor for not mentioning him.

      Thanks for the comment.

  4. I actually rewatched the 2nd test a few days ago, how Burger was not shown red and banned is beyond me!
    @Stephen- I certainly think it played a part in the 3rd, the Boks were next to useless, but also the fact the series was wrapped up and a few players were rested and the Boks needed to shift focus onto the Tri-Nations. In my opinion that is

    • That 2nd test was brutal. Respect for putting aside some time and rewatching it. That is all quality.
      I totally agree with you about the 3rd test, they were my thoughts at the time. It worked. They won the Tri-Nations that year and were 3-and-0 against the ABs as well. Respect for that SA team. IMO the greatest to come out of SA in the history of the game.

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